April 26, 2018
I wanted to continue to grow in my career and develop new capabilities. I did an honest assessment of what skills I had and what skills I needed to build and enhance. I had been focused primarily on internal communications for the last decade and realized I needed to expand my external and industry knowledge. The role in sales was a way to gain that experience, while also leveraging my communications background.
I leveraged my network and found a few key people to serve as “translators” for my new role. While I had been at Campbell for nearly 15 years, I realized my sales vocabulary was limited. The translators were my safety net, and allowed me to ask what to them must have been the dumbest questions in the world. The time they spent with me was critical to helping me get off to a fast start. I also thought I knew everything there was to know about our brands and products, but came to the quick realization that I had breadth, but not depth, of knowledge. I took the opportunity to become a student of our business and be a sponge to soak up new information.
I’m not sure I’ve mastered stress management quite yet! I’m a to-do list type of person and find that in a stressful situation, it’s worth my time to look at my list and prioritize. Then, I feel better as I’m able to check something off. Also, I have a long commute to work and sometimes turn on some of my favorite songs to sing along to. I’m sure I look very odd on the highway belting out the lyrics, but it works for me! And if all else fails, I have a M&M dispenser in my office!
Don’t overreact, but at the same time, be ready to react. One cryptic Tweet or critical Instagram post does not mean the sky is falling. Yet, founders must be able to judge if it is a lone dissenter or a bigger issue is brewing. It’s also very easy to get emotional in crises situations and immediately personalize the issue. It’s important to be able to take a step back and rationally assess the right response (or non-response) in these types of situations.
Wear flats and pack your heels! Only kidding – sort of! In all seriousness, Denise has shown me the importance of being disciplined about your career plan, that you have to begin with the end in mind. If you don’t know where you ultimately want to get to, it’s impossible to go anywhere. She has helped me be honest with myself on my capabilities and goals and has been an incredible supporter to help shape my career path along the way.
Over-communication is a good thing. Just because you feel you’ve heard the message a thousand times already or think that “everybody knows that,” chances are that there is someone that hasn’t. One of the things I try to do with presentations or messages is to use the same few slides or words upfront. While at times to even me it can seem redundant, it makes the people more receptive to the message you’re trying to disseminate, as you’re building from an established foundation.
The decision to hire a cleaning service that comes to my house every other week lifted an incredible burden and relieved a lot of guilt. I wanted to have a great job and I knew I needed to travel for it. I also wanted to be able to spend quality time with my family. Those two things were not possible if I was going to spend every weekend cleaning. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people that has a hard time letting go, so I debated it for too long. Ultimately, I prioritized where I wanted to spend my time, and quickly determined it was not scrubbing my bathroom. Looking back now, I can’t believe I hesitated for a second!
The importance of delegation. I wanted to do everything myself and felt that it was the best way to demonstrate my value. While it did at first, and I developed a great reputation as very good executor, I then struggled to establish my strategic capabilities. I learned that I needed to empower my team to do the work with me, which only increased our productivity and enhanced my leadership ability.